Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Rally Ireland is at end of the road

Ireland will not have a place in a re-vamped World Rally Championship next year.

In a statement the Irish governing body, Motorsport Ireland, confirmed they “had been advised by North One Sport, the global promoters of the WRC, that Rally Ireland has not been included in their 2011 calendar proposal to the FIA.”

The statement went on to say Motorsport Ireland had presented North One with a detailed plan for the 2011 event at a meeting in London in September last year, but it emerged after a meeting of the FIA Rally Commission in Paris this week that the bid had not been successful.

The draft calendar presented to the Rally Commission still has to be ratified by the World Council next month, but with new FIA president Jean Todt having taken a close interest in its make up — even delaying its publication — there is little doubt the new schedule will be approved.

Todt had already made it clear that, although North One are the global promoters and would have a strong input, the FIA would control the calendar and he wanted to see a boarder geographical spread to a championship which has become too European centred.

The statement from Motorsport Ireland president Joe Corcoran, who attended this week’s Paris meeting, said Ireland will “continue to participate as a partner in the World Rally Organisers Group with a view to capitalising on any opportunities that may arise.”

However, it now seems that Rally Ireland, which was part of the World series in 2007 and 2009, has sadly reached the end of the road.

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